Barton camps get underway

On a cold mid-February afternoon in Portland, players flocked from up and down the I-5 corridor to attend the Barton Air Attack camp at Portland Community College and were run through their paces by Greg Barton and his terrific staff of counselors.

The camp was held inside the gymnasium – even though it was sunny, it was still very cold – and the players, as well as the parents on hand, seemed to be very happy about that. In attendance for the linemen camp that began at noon were Columbia River junior-to-be Austin James along with 2007 DE Robert Young from Clackamas.

They split the linemen up into defensive and offensive groups and ran through footwork drills, how to drive through the ballcarrier, how to use their hands effectively and on protection drops.

James is an interesting player. He attended camp last year as a freshman and went up against Oregon State-bound Alex Linnenkohl of Capital (Olympia). He is huge (6-4, 319) and is just now starting to grow into his body. He has the size and Barton seemed to think he was going to be very good heading into his senior season.

Young is a player to keep an eye on this fall. He's 6-0, 254 pounds and is super-quick. He gets off the ball quickly and has an attitude when he's trying to get to the quarterback. Right now Young is hearing from Oregon and Oregon State, but you should expect more schools to find out about him during the summer as he hits the combine and camp circuit.

When the quarterbacks and receivers showed up for the first of two sessions with Barton, the first player that catches your eye is Southridge (Beaverton) WR Marcus Mathews. He is big (6-4, 200) and runs crisp routes. He also has excellent hands and an attitude. He has the frame to bulk up to 215 or 220 pounds easily by the time he hits a college campus in the fall of 2007 and he is likely to be one of the most sough-after wideouts on the west coast.

The quarterbacks were led by Jackson's Jake Gelakoska, Skyline's (Sammamish) Tony Rehn, Columbia River's Evan Mozzochi and, in the second session, California-bound Kevin Riley.

Gelakoska and Mozzochi both looked very smooth and will be vying this year – along with Southridge (Kennewick) QB Jason Munns, Prosser's Kellen Moore and Auburn QB Kellen Kiilsgaard – for top honors among signal-callers in the Evergreen State.

Mozzochi, because of his location to Seattle, hasn't gotten a lot of mention as a passer, but don't let the lack of press fool you, he's very athletic and getting better. His mechanics have improved immensely over the past year and he had some nice zip on the deep-out patterns the quarterbacks were asked to throw. His placement was flawless, always throwing away from where the defender would be and his footwork allowed him to get off nice, crisp throws.

Gelakoska is the more-polished of the two and you would be hard pressed, other than Kiilsgaard, to find a more athletic prospect at quarterback. He sports a 4.52 forty and has excellent velocity on his throws. He and about dozen of his teammates (along with his quarterback coach) were in attendance and they ran through their paces all afternoon.

One player not in attendance for the Timberwolves was WR Kawika Emsley-Pai. He was playing basketball this weekend, but an equally talented wideout from Jackson was in attendance. Billy Green (6-0, 170) caught everything in sight and was very smooth in his routes. He is one to keep an eye on this fall.

Unfortunately for Rehn, he will be taking over for Jason Harris under center for the Spartans. Harris is a tough act to follow, but Rehn appears to be up to the challenge as he had good zip on all of his throws and his mechanics, while still a work-in-progress, were solid. He also is a very good athlete and he will play linebacker as well for Skyline.

Two Hidden Valley (Grants Pass, OR) athletes were also in the house and they both showed well at the camp. WR Jordan Van Cleare is an interesting prospect. He's built similarly to Mathews – Cleare goes 6-3, 190 – and he is an excellent athlete. He started as a junior at wide receiver and defensive back for the Mustangs last fall and the expectation is that he will have an outstanding senior year.

Van Cleare's quarterback, L.B. Draper, is a player that has come a long way and was the most-improved player on his team in 2005. He has a slight build (6-2, 170) but he showed a good arm and solid mechanics.

Clackamas WR Ricky Cookman wowed with his routes and hands. He's only 5-11, 180 pounds, but he has a big heart and he catches everything in site. He is super-quick and gets in and out of his breaks without losing any speed. If he was about two inches taller he would probably be one of the top wideouts along with Mathews on the west coast. As it is, he is second only to Mathews in the state at wide receiver.

Last, but certainly not least was Riley who showed up for the second session. He looks like he's gained 25 pounds of muscle (last reports were that he was over 200 pounds) and he was really spinning the ball well as the workouts began. He is scheduled to redshirt this season for the Bears and should challenge for playing time as third-year sophomore depending on how he develops.

Barton, along with his son and former Washington QB Taylor, will be running camps at Portland CC every Sunday through the end of March and will have three camps at Autzen Stadium (Eugene) in April followed by three camps at the University of Washington in late May and early June. Top Stories